Right now, there is a child sitting somewhere with both hands on his chin, his elbows on a wooden table and his eyes affixed to a teacher who knows just as much as to make everyone else look dumb.
There is another child who finds it much of a problem to solve and find “x”; the same “x” that is written boldly, staring right back at him. He has no idea why he has to find a letter that he can already see. But, of course, he will fail the exams if he doesn’t find a way to start finding letters that are not lost. So he crams the solution.
Theories, laws, formulae, and methods among others, flood the subjects taught in school. Students now know the answers to most of the questions and cannot tell how the answers can solve real life problems. It was surely in the thought of this, that Roger Lewin made the famous quote: “Too often, we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.”
When a teacher tells a child that “A is for Apple”, the child takes it in after many rehearsals and can confidently say it anywhere that A is for apple.
But here’s a suggestion for teachers: Ask the whole class of students what they can use an apple for. Listen as most of them will talk. Now, take a limited number of apples, share them between a few of the children. Give two apples to some, one to others, and none to some others. Make sure to place side-by-side children with two apples and children with none. Then announce to the class that the apples in their hands are theirs. Watch. See if the children with two apples will give one to those with none. Or any with one will give just that one away. There you go: the problem of greed and selfishness has been placed before them to solve!
Children should be allowed to solve problems without being told the exact way to. Our educational system forces us to take everything the teacher says and give it back to him.
All the bright and smart students who make A’ grades in school are those who were cajoled to use their hippocampus more than any other part of their brain. Sometimes I wonder why this part of the brain that is involved in storing and processing memory is actually called the “hippocampus”. What is a hippo and what is a campus? Isn’t it funny that a hippo is a large animal with a very large head, and a campus is the area around a school? Whoever created the name knew what he was doing. I may not be right about the origin of the name, but at least my prefrontal cortex (responsible for cognition and problem solving) is still working.
We, students, are tired. We need a new process of learning where we get to think more, more than we are asked to remember; where we get to be told not only how to do certain things, but also why we are doing them. We need to know why we keep finding “x” when it’s right there before us.
We need one more thing – to find a new name for their process of teaching. Probably a name like “Cram-booktion” or “Must-pass-examtion” or maybe “dont-thinktion”; not Education, because if their Education is a simple give-me-what-I-taught-you process, then we are sorry, Education is no longer the way!